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Off Escena: If I Were…, 2010-11

HD Video, colour, sound, 16’ 30’’
Video installation

Off Escena: If I Were... proposes a reflection and a collective action around the politics of inclusion and exclusion in current neoliberal societies. Relationships are structured following dynamics that establish cross borders among individuals, through hardly perceptible, subtle barriers that are nevertheless strengthened and visibilised when the process of adaption to the role we have been assigned fails. It is then that the logic of punishment is imposed, being institutional confinement the most explicit and exhibitionist of its variants. Based on these premises, and as in previous works continuing to use the exhibition space as the film set, Off Escena: If I Were... was conceived to be filmed in the old cold storage space of Matadero Madrid (a refurbished abattoir). The action, starred by four interns from the prison of Centro Penitenciario Madrid-I in Alcalá Meco, occurred around a scaffolding structure designed and provisionally built there for the occasion. When entering the space, the viewer was confronted with a solitary stage dominated by a graffiti: “Ask and Tell” (‘Pregunta y Habla’): an invitation to action. The sentence is the Spanish translation of an antitheses to the well known “Don’t ask, don’t tell” used by the US army as discriminatory advise to homosexual members of the military. Back stage, the structure was transformed into a projection screen where the results of the events that had developed in the space could be seen: the shooting of a musical formally inspired by Bertolt Brecht theatre theories.
Freedom, gender, economy and social violence are visually present on this video that ends with a free version of the song If I Were a Rich Man (sung by the character of kind patriarch Teyve in the film Fiddler on the Roof). The sentence If I Were uses a conditional tense that, when raised to four women in prison, invites to reflection: would they be in prison if they had been men and rich? A critical approach to the current situations of domination that avoids the assimilationism pro-system sung by Teyve, and which is related here to the experience of an alternative life and the knowledge that we should not abandon the dream of achieving a more equal world.

Suite Rivolta. An Aesthetic Proposal for Action

Off Escena: If I Were…, 2010-11
Production still


Off Escena: If I Were…, 2010-11
Matadero Madrid site-specific installation
Installation view


Off Escena: If I Were…, 2010-11
Video stills

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